The Meaning of Love
What is love? Quite the question, isn’t it? Especially in today’s world.
Is it a gooey, gushy feeling? Or a flutter in the belly? I mean, really? Isn’t that what books and Hollywood say it is? I’m not being sarcastic, folks. I’m trying to make sense out of a truly complicated subject.
Well, let’s back up a minute.
We’re educated people, aren’t we? Let’s look at this in rational manner. Today’s world demands “unbiased” discussions (by unbiased, I mean no “religious talk.”) so we’ll only used the scientific method as a means to draw conclusions about the meaning of love.
So…how is a person supposed to define “love” especially when the very thing we’re talking about can’t be measured? Is not testable? How can it be dissected or analyzed, recreated in a scientific experiment? After all, that’s how life is supposed to work. That is the method of confirmation or repudiation of any theory in the scientific community, isn’t it?
We could poll a massive amount of people, look at the numbers, separate them into categories, draw conclusions and then develop hypotheses of what this may be or that may say. One problem. That’s not an experiment. That’s a study. In the end, the data reflects nothing but what the person looking at it says it does. Sorry, scientists and pundits, that’s a fact.
We could put a bunch of people in the same situation and watch how they act, but all that does is look at their behavior and catalog it. Again, that’s a study. The data defines nothing. It simply reflects what has occurred. The conclusions drawn are the opinions of the people doing the study.
The point I’m trying to make is that LOVE does not follow scientific laws. It can be studied but it can’t be reproduced in a controlled environment upon demand.
So, we’ve arrived once again at the original question. How does a person define “love?”
To answer this question, we first must look at what love is to the world around us. This may be painful for some of you, but it’s very important. Remember when I mentioned books and Hollywood? Let’s visit just those two and disregard the others.
In books on the market today, both Christian and secular, how is “love” commonly portrayed as well as expected? Think hard about this one, please and we’ll revisit it in a moment.
Although Christian film has made a splash more recently, Hollywood is known to portray “love” in a shallow or sexual manner in its sitcoms, television series, and movies. The content of an average Hollywood production contains sexual innuendo, homosexuality, premarital sex, divorce, extramarital affairs, teen sex…the list goes on. The family is portrayed as broken, disjointed, fatherless, or wounded. The problem with all this? It’s represents many American lives and families today. By doing this, Hollywood glorifies it and says it is acceptable.
But back to the original question, even if it is plastered all over our movie and television screens, is what they are showing “love?”
I’d like to look at the vows a husband and wife take when they stand before a Justice of the Peace.
Here are the vows that are prompted by a Justice of the Peace. Now, you can write your own vows, but that’s not what I’m driving at here. I want people to understand that this is what our society expects from us at marriage even though it’s been disregarded by so many. (This is taken from the State of New Hampshire.)
We are gathered here this [DATE]
to unite this man
and this woman
in the bonds of holy matrimony which is an honorable estate. Into this, these two now come to be joined.
If anyone present can show just and legal cause why they may not be joined, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
Who gives this woman to this man?
, will you have this woman as your lawful wedded wife, to live together in the estate of matrimony? Will you love her, honor her, comfort her, and keep her in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, be true to her as long as you both shall live? (I will).
, will you have this man as your lawful wedded husband, to live together in the estate of matrimony? Will you love him, honor him, comfort him, and keep him in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, be true to him as long as you both shall live? (I will).
BEHOLD the symbol of wedlock. The perfect circle of love, the unbroken union of this man and this woman united here today. May you both remain faithful to this symbol of true love.
Please join hands and repeat after me (man first, while placing ring on proper fingers).
as my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
as my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
For as much as [MAN’S NAME]
and [WOMAN’S NAME]
have consented together in wedlock, and have witnessed the same before this company of friends and family, and have given and pledged their promises to each other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands.
By the authority vested in me by the State of New Hampshire,
I pronounce this couple to be husband and wife.
I reminded of my vows because as you can see these are not so different from those taken in a church. They also contain the one word which needs defined by BOTH parties before taking this step…LOVE.
And if you look, I believe we’ll find the very definition of love buried within the vows themselves. You see, love isn’t a feeling. It isn’t a gooey, gushy emotion. It’s action.
Nowhere above does it say, have sex twice a day (pardon my vulgarity), or kiss every time you see each other. Nor does it say, never have a fight, or make sure nobody looks at another human being. Or whatever you do, don’t fall down the stairs or get sick.
So what does it mean to love someone? It means to honor, to comfort, to keep, to nurture, to heal, to have, to hold. When? In good times, in bad times, when sick, when healthy, when rich, when poor.
And above all, trust one another. Where do I get THAT one?
The last vow. It’s the most important one of all and completes society’s guidance for marriage. It also helps us with the definition of love. We are to remain by the one we love until death. In other words…forever, through whatever comes our way—grief, betrayal, sickness, heartache—how else are we to do that except with trust?
What is love? Selfless and forgiving.
Our society expects it, and God expects it.
If you’re wondering how to do it, I’ll give you an example. His name is Jesus Christ. If you’re wondering what the true definition of love is, it's Calvary.
If you don’t think you can do it yourself, ask Him to help you.
1 Corinthians 13:5-8
1Co 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
1Co 13:5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
1Co 13:6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
1Co 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
Remember the question I asked about books? What do you think? Is love portrayed in a real manner in books today or is the ooey, gooey way to please the reader? And vice versa, is that the expectation of readers? Do they want the happy, shallow relationship because it’s easier to deal with?
I’m not just talking about secular books here, folks. Give me your opinion!
Leave your name and email in the comments as well and I’ll enter you in the drawing to receive a copy of my latest release, Racing Hearts. I’m also throwing in a bonus copy of Crazy Woman Christmas due out in November.
*** GIVEAWAY ***
Racing Hearts and Crazy Woman Christmas:
Full of hope for the future, a young couple sets off on an adventure and welcome their new home with open arms. The lakes sparkle, the mountains glisten, and deep within, the seed of life grows. But challenges arise in their newfound paradise and soon, their love faces a trial of almost insurmountable odds.
For the two Christians, placing the fate of their unborn child in the hands of God seems rather easy, but trusting each other? Now, that may prove to be the largest challenge of all…as hearts race in the Rocky Mountains.
Crazy Woman Christmas:
A prodigal daughter meets a grieving son…
During her move back home, Bianca Kolceski takes a wrong turn in rural Wyoming and buries her car in a snowbank. Snow piles high outside until Devon Dawson knocks on her window. The quiet cowboy whisks her to his ranch to ride out the Christmas blizzard where Bianca discovers life is cold but also beautiful in the “Cowboy” state.
Christmas is the last thing on Devon’s mind, especially when a storm’s in the forecast, and “Joy to the World,” like his dreams, are ancient history. His world is the ranch, his parent’s legacy, and he labors day and night for it. But when he finds a lost Texan stranded on the side of the road, forgotten desires surface.
And Christ is born. It’s time to celebrate.
About Renee Blare:
Renee Blare has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, she lives in Wyoming with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat. She serves her beautiful small town as a pharmacist while penning her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.
Group Blog: http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/